Film review: Shazam! is surprisingly good, says Rashid Irani
A wish-fulfillment superhero fantasy based on one of the earliest DC Comics characters (created in 1939 and initially known as — no kidding — Captain Marvel), Shazam! is surprisingly good — as immensely enjoyable, in fact, as Wonder Woman was.
The plot is a throwback to the body-switching comedies (Big) and adolescent adventures (Trading Places) of the 1980s, and focuses on a 14-year-old foster child (Asher Angel, charismatic) living with a foster family in Philadelphia. Every time he shouts the word Shazam, he is magically transformed into an invincible adult. (Incidentally, Shazam is an acronym for six heroes of antiquity — Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury.)
Soon enough, his supersized alter-ego (Zachary Levi, convincing) is tasked with confronting the forces of evil in the guise of a megalomaniac (Mark Strong) capable of unleashing the ghoulish avatars of the seven deadly sins.
It’s a playful plot given a comedic slant by, surprise surprise, director David F Sandberg, the horror aficionado behind Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation. The supporting cast features a couple of scene-stealing turns by Faithe Herman (as the wise-beyond-her-years foster sister) and Jack Dylan Grazer (as the geeky sidekick). Shazam! is a film for the fun-loving. I say go see it.
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